The maker of the body cameras being tested by the San Diego Police Department said Thursday that officers’ use of personal force dropped by 47 percent and complaints fell by 41 percent in tests.

San Diego officials earlier reported success with the camera, and the announcement by TASER International, manufacturer of the AXON body-worn video camera, provided further indication of the cameras’ effectiveness.

TASER’s AXON flex Camera with controller and glasses. Courtesy TASER

“The body cameras have proven to be a positive game-changer for our department and the San Diego community,” says San DiegoPolice Chief Shelley Zimmerman. “We find the cameras to be a win-win for our officers and citizens and we look forward to continued success with our body-worn video program here in San Diego.”

In addition to the reductions in use of personal bodily force and citizen complaints, San Diego officers’ use of pepper spray decline by 31 percent.

The San Diego Police Department currently uses 600 AXON body and flex cameras along with TASER’s cloud-based platform,, to store and manage the data from their cameras and other digital devices.  The department plans to have nearly 1,000 officers, including patrol officers, gang-unit officers and motorcycle officers equipped with body cameras by the end of 2015.

“This is meaningful data from a large scale deployment of body-worn cameras at a major city and we are very encouraged by the positive results and significant impact the body cameras have shown to have on a police force and community,” said Rick Smith, CEO and Founder of TASER.  “We hope the results from this study will help guide other cities, counties and law enforcement agencies who are considering updating their technology to help improve transparency and community relations.”

TASER said studies of body-worn cameras conducted at other police departments in recent years have shown similar results. A study by Arizona State University at the Mesa Police Department revealed a 48 percent reduction in citizen complaints and a 75 percent decline in use of force complaints.

The camera can be attached securely to sunglasses, a cap, a shirt collar, or a head mount. It’s powered by a pocket-sized battery pack. When recording, the camera captures a wide-angle, full-color view of what an officer is facing.  The video automatically uploads via a docking station.

TASER, based in Scottsdale, AZ, was founded in 1993 to make the well-known TASER electrical weapons.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.